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Multi-scale modelling and simulation of colloidal crystal self-assembling on chemically patterned surfaces


The technological demand and wealth creation opportunities for miniaturized and nanotechnology devices and components are widely accepted. Among the many routes of deriving advanced functional materials critical to these innovations, colloidal self-assembling has increasingly drawn attention because potentially it is the most cost-effective process for producing the 2D and 3D superstructures. Colloidal self-assembly via chemically patterned surface represents an emerging technique in producing superstructures with specific geometries possessing a broad range of feature sizes (a few nm - a few mm).

However, although a great deal of structures have been experimentally produced, the underlying mechanism of self-assembling is not understood, being limited to qualitative explanations and speculations. By combining the knowledge in colloid science, interfacial physics and chemistry, complex fluid dynamics and numerical computations, this project aims to develop models and viable approximations to unravel the complex interplay of the various interactions on a quantitative level, assisted by numerical simulations of patterned colloid crystallization from nanoscopic to macroscopic length scale.

The expected outcomes are:
1. a quantitative understanding of the fundamental controlling factors to the growth of self-assembled colloidal crystals on chemically patterned surfaces with wettability contrasts, concerning interactions between particle-particle, particle-solvent, particle-substrate, and solvent-substrate;
2. an integrated bulk-suspension-scale/particle-scale/molecular-scale model and a simulation platform to emulate the self-assembling process from the suspension to the patterned substrate.

Call for proposal

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